16th The Queen's Lancers

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16th The Queen's Lancers
16th The Queen's Lancers Cap Badge.jpg
Badge of 16th The Queen's Lancers
Active 1759–1922
Country  Kingdom of Great Britain (1759–1800)
 United Kingdom (1801–1922)
Branch  British Army
Type Line Cavalry
Size Regiment
Nickname(s) "The Scarlet Lancers"
Motto(s) Aut cursu, aut cominus armis
(Either in the charge or in hand-to-hand combat)
March Quick: The English Patrol
Slow: The 16th Lancers
Anniversaries Aliwal (28 Jan)

General John Burgoyne
Field Marshal William Harcourt, 3rd Earl Harcourt

General Sir Edward Cust

The 16th The Queen's Lancers was a cavalry regiment of the British Army, first raised in 1759. It saw service for two centuries, before being amalgamated into the 16th/5th Lancers in 1922.


The regiment was raised as the second of the new regiments of light dragoons in 1759, as the 16th Regiment of (Light) Dragoons, also known as Burgoyne's Light Horse. In 1766 they were renamed after Queen Charlotte as the 2nd (or The Queen's) Regiment of (Light) Dragoons, the number being an attempt to create a new numbering system for the light dragoon regiments. However, the old system was quickly reestablished, with the regiment returning as the 16th (The Queen's) Regiment of (Light) Dragoons in 1769.

Shortly after its establishment the regiment saw combat in February 1761 against French forces garrisoning Belle Île. During the subsequent eight months the 16th Light Dragoons served as part of a British force campaigning against the Spanish.

The 16th Light Dragoons arrived in New York in September, 1776. They were involved in fighting at Brandywine, Paoli, and Monmouth Court House. The regiment returned to Britain in December, 1778.

During 1793-96 the 16th Light Dragoons served in the Low Countries during the early stages of the French Revolutionary Wars, distinguishing itself at the Battle of Beaumont. In Spain and France between 1809 and 1814 the regiment suffered 309 casualties in a series of separate encounters. The 16th Light Dragoons were the sole British cavalry regiment to serve throughout the Peninsular War and at the 1815 Battle of Waterloo,[1] where they charged with Vandeleur's Cavalry Brigade. After the battle, their commander, Lieutenant-colonel James Hay, lay so badly injured that he could not be moved from the field for eight days.[2]

They became lancers in 1816, as the 16th (The Queen's) Regiment of (Light) Dragoons (Lancers). In the course of 24 years unbroken service in India, from 1822 to 1846, the regiment saw action in both the 1st (including the capture of Ghuznee) and 2nd Afghan Wars, the Maharatta War and the Sikh War of 1845-46. As lancers they were the first British regiment to use this weapon, at the Siege of Bhurtpore in 1826

The regimental title was simplified in 1861 to the 16th (The Queen's) Lancers. The Regiment was posted to India in the early 1900s, but took part in the Second Boer War in South Africa 1900-1901.

After service in the First World War the regiment was retitled as the 16th The Queen's Lancers in 1921 and amalgamated with the 5th Royal Irish Lancers to form the 16th/5th Lancers (later the 16th/5th The Queen's Royal Lancers) the following year. This measure was part of a general reduction of mounted cavalry numbers in the British Army.

Battle Honours[edit]

  • Beaumont, Willems, Talavera, Fuentes d'Onor, Salamanca, Vittoria, Nive, Peninsula, Waterloo, Bhurtpore, Ghuznee 1839, Affghanistan 1839, Maharajpore, Aliwal, Sobraon, Relief of Kimberley, Paardeberg, South Africa 1900-02.
  • The Great War: Mons, Le Cateau, Retreat from Mons, Marne 1914, Aisne 1914, Messines 1914, Armentières 1914, Ypres 1914 '15, Gheluvelt, St. Julien, Bellewaarde, Arras 1917, Scarpe 1917, Cambrai 1917, Somme 1918, Amiens, Hindenburg Line, Canal du Nord, Pursuit to Mons, France and Flanders 1914-18.

Insignia and uniform[edit]

The collar badge of the regiment until 1921 comprised the figure 16 above a scroll inscribed "Queen's Lancers", over a pair of crossed lances and surmounted by a crown (see illustration above). The lancer full dress cap bore the regimental battle honors and number in silver.[3]

In its early years as the 16th Light Dragoons, the regiment wore the standard red uniform of this branch of cavalry with black and then royal blue facings. In 1784 the red coat was replaced by a dark blue jacket. From 1816 to 1832 a dark blue lancer uniform was worn, until in December 1832 a scarlet coatee and undress jacket was authorized for all lancer regiments as part of a general policy to make red the national military colour. In 1840 it was ordered that Light Cavalry should revert to the blue uniforms formerly worn. Sir John Vandeleur petitoned that the 16th might be permitted to retain their scarlet coatee and on 2nd March 1841, his request was granted. [4]

The scarlet uniform was worn by the 16th Lancers during the First Sikh War and on their return to England in 1846, they remained the only Lancer regiment not to resume the blue jacket of the light cavalry. The now unique distinction of scarlet lancer tunic and dark blue plastron was retained in full dress until 1914.[5]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Bromley, Janet; Bromley, David (2015). Wellington's Men Remembered Volume 2: A Register of Memorials to Soldiers who Fought in the Peninsular War and at Waterloo- Volume II: M to Z. Pen and Sword. p. 361. ISBN 978-1-4738-5768-1. 
  2. ^ Dalton, Charles (1904). The Waterloo roll call. With biographical notes and anecdotes. London: Eyre and Spottiswoode. p. 87. 
  3. ^ Appendix I "Dress Regulations for the Army 1900"
  4. ^ Rev. Percy Sumner, Journal of the Society for Army Historical Research, Vol. 27, 1949, p. 116
  5. ^ W.Y. Carman, pages 172-174 "Uniforms of the British Army - the Cavalry Regiments", ISBN 0-906671-13-2

External links[edit]